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When shopping for a car, you likely never think about how much you can sell it for later on. After all, cars depreciate in value over time, so you normally would be lucky to get a portion of what you originally paid. But what if you can pick a car that returns most of the money you spent on it when you bought it? It’s possible if you follow these five tips.

1. Find a car that’s known for having a high resale value

Rear angle view of blue 2023 Subaru Crosstrek crossover SUV, highlighting most common problems and if it’s reliable
2023 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

If you’re searching for a new car, it’s a great time to think about resale value before you drive it off the lot. To ensure you can get the top dollar later on, it’s important to go for a make and model known for having a good resale value. As Real Simple points out, Subaru is a Japanese brand that’s known for its resale value – which is why Kelley Blue Book has given it the “Best Resale Value” award many times. However, it’s important to find a make and model that suits your everyday needs, not just one that you know will have a high resale value later.

2. Keep the car clean during the time you own it

A man wipes down the exterior of a car.
A man wipes down the exterior of a car. | Getty Images

You would be surprised at how many car owners neglect their automobiles during the time they own them. Picture torn-up leather seats and French fries in every crevice you can find – not to mention some rank smells. Don’t be like this. Instead, keep your car clean at all times by getting it washed at least once a month, vacuuming the interior, and waxing it. It’s also important to keep it protected with all-season floor mats and seat covers. Doing all of these will help its resale value when it’s time to get rid of it.

3. Keep the miles low

A car's odometer
A car’s odometer | Getty Images

Americans drive an average of 13,500 miles per year, which can easily be exceeded if you have a long commute to work every day. If you drive that many miles (or more), keeping the miles low is suggested if you want to get more money for your car later on. Of course, we don’t advocate putting yourself out of a car to save on the miles. But if and when it’s possible, try taking public transportation or walking to keep the miles on the car low.

4. Record all of the car’s maintenance and repairs

A mechanic works on a car.
A mechanic works under the hood of a car. | Getty Images

In addition to keeping your car clean, it’s important to keep it maintained. That doesn’t mean you need to keep it in showroom condition at all times, but it’s a good idea to have the oil changed, and the tires replaced when needed. Also, get any repairs needed out of the way as soon as you can so they don’t become bigger issues later on.

Keep a maintenance record on your phone or on a spreadsheet that includes the date and mileage of when you had certain repairs done. Doing so will show the next owner that you cared for the car, which could make it more valuable.

5. Drive carefully

A man drives a car for Uber.
An Uber driver drives a car. | Drew Angerer/Getty Image

Accidents happen, but some of them can be prevented. In that case, it’s important to drive the car carefully during the time that you own. Avoiding accidents or any other type of damage could help its resale value when it’s time to sell it.

Helping your car’s resale value

Although you may not think about reselling your car when you buy it, having it in the back of your mind is a good idea. A car is a depreciating asset, but you can still get a lot of money for it when you’re done with it. Following these steps will help you get your money’s worth.


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